Allison Watson: Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2007

Remarks by Allison Watson, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group, Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2007
Denver, Colorado
July 11, 2007

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, once again, please welcome Allison Watson.

ALLISON WATSON: Good morning. And I think again we have to give it up to the EB Family Band, the girls and Jason who joined us, and a shameless plug, they’re going to be signing autographs tomorrow, and their album is for sale in the Microsoft store after the morning keynote. They were fantastic. Let’s give them a round of applause. (Applause.)

Well, welcome to Day 2, thank you for being here. I must admit on the 36th floor of the Hyatt, someone is not in the room because they were partying on my floor at four in the morning. I had to call security on them, and I’m not usually like that, but I was a little bit tired last night.

Yesterday was an amazing day. I hope you’ve seen both the commitment to partners, the software plus services transformation and, more importantly, the, if you will, mound of technology that’s upon us that we have to capitalize and take advantage of. I always like to step back a little bit and say, that’s all that we have to offer. But at the end of the day, it’s the voice of the customer that’s going to dictate how we drive our business, how we have success in our business, and they’re the ones that are going to demand that we perform in a way that makes sense to their business. So let’s start out with the voice of a customer, Dream Dinners, and let’s hear what they have to say.

(Video segment and applause.)

In hearing from Tina and Stephanie, and Steve, what you hear is them talking about their needs, and the roles that they play be it as BDMs, be it as an IT pro, be it as an information worker. I know you all hear the voice of the customer every day. It’s so important that we  that as we go deliver People Ready businesses to our customers out there around the globe that we listen to their needs, we listen to it in their words, and that we respond.

What I also liked about what they said, though, is what they expected as partners, and of Microsoft, along those responding. They expect partners who are skilled and way ahead of the curve. They want partners that extend the vision of their own, and they want partners that are connected to other partners, and who will bring a broad range of solutions to help them think beyond what they’d even thought of for their business.

So I feel like it’s my responsibility and my job on behalf of Microsoft to ensure that you’re as prepared as you can be, both in current and future needs, to address the needs of customers like Dream Dinners, and the other 160 million around the world.

Now, in addition to this request that I get from you is to be ready to do this, I also was asked a lot this year, should I continue to bet on Microsoft now that we’re going to the software plus services transformation. So in answer to the question, why should you bet on Microsoft, I think after hearing from Steve and Kevin yesterday, it doesn’t need any more words other than to say, unequivocally yes. The Microsoft advantage now and into the future with the software plus services transformation is software plus services plus partners.

So let me drill a little bit into the framework that we’re using inside Microsoft such that as we release services into the  as we release services from Microsoft we’re going to take a consistent and predictable approach about asking about the partner opportunity. I want to thank the members of the Live Partner advisory council who spent the last year rigorously giving us feedback and input as to making sure how we make this transformation successful for Microsoft, and for our partner channel.

What you see here is the framework we’ll be using internally. At the inside circle is really three core pillars of our delivery model for services. Will our product coming out be an on-premise product, hosted by Microsoft, or hosted by a partner? Once we answer that question about the particular service we’ll then go into business models and ask the question, is there an opportunity for partners to build, deploy, customize or integrate. In terms of monetization, a question I’m often asked, we’ll ask, what about refer, resell, advertise, is there a fee-based model or subscription model?

In terms of our contractual relationships it’s really important, and I think you will agree with me that if we’re going to have an integrated customer experience, that whether the customer of Microsoft and you is acquiring software either on premise, hosted by you, or hosted by Microsoft, that they should have a seamless integration of working with Microsoft and the products they acquire. And finally, the issue around marketplace, how do we bring the services and the things that you add on to that to Live in an even richer way, and you’ll see some exciting things that we’re doing to bring that to fruition.

So we’re at the beginning of a journey, and our intent here is to drive consistency, predictability, and try to be transparent as we release services into the marketplace. But, there’s nothing better than to hear from a partner who is doing it themselves already. Many of you have already started to make that transformation, and Tom Keane from NitroSell in Ireland has a great story to share with us.

(Video segment.)

ALLISON WATSON: Are Tom and the team here from NitroSell? Yes, there they are. Stage left, they don’t get a wipe, but I told them. Congratulations, guys.

All right. So I want to spend the last few minutes just going over, that’s the transformation we’re making. You’re in the middle of making business decisions about where you want to take your business, and how to drive profitability. We’re going to continue to invest to make sure that you have the tools you need to grow your business. We continue to focus, the Microsoft Partner Program investments all up around the businesses that you run, tools for planning your business, growing your business, marketing, reaching more customers and finally closing more sales.

So I’m going to just run through a set of new enhancements we’re doing into the partner program this year. You heard Kevin talk about the new business planning, the conditions of satisfaction tool that all of our partner account managers are going to be required and willing to sign the deal in terms of ensuring you have the best satisfaction levels in working with Microsoft. I also am pleased to introduce this morning for the first time, and it will be live up on our Web site, the first software plus services partner opportunity blueprint, which starts to examine the KPIs that you need to start tracking as you move into a software plus services opportunity.

In terms of growing and enabling your business, we will continue to invest in skills plus, as you heard Chris Cap say yesterday. We have new MSPP focus areas around hosting, search, UC, and BI. And yesterday we announced that there’s a Windows Live Quick Start for those of you who want to bring some of the applications that you saw on stage yesterday in, and to rich use for your client. We’ll continue to focus on P2B, and finally for those of you who are picking up an extension into the Web, we have a new Web partner focus, and a Web community to bring the assets to bear that you’re seeing over the course of this week.

In terms of making your solutions visible to customers, with ISVs we’re introducing a new search engine optimization project program. Our marketing centers continue to be enhanced. We now have all of the Microsoft customer campaigns running localized in 62 countries, and in local languages, so that you can take and create marketing campaigns around your business plan.

And, finally, I have talked richly for the last few years about how we’re going to bring customers to you through Microsoft Online. I’m incredibly proud to tell you that we had 1.8 million customer searches against the Microsoft Solution Finder database. So for the 15,000 of you that have taken the opportunity to put your solution into the Solution Finder database, I’m starting to hear feedback about how that’s starting to impact your business. The Solution Finder database, on the back end, is linked to marketplaces all over, and you’ll see that we have over 100 sites, and 40 million unique users a day. So I encourage you to take advantage of this rich asset, and bring your solutions visible to our customers.

Finally, in terms of closing more deals, we’ve got quite exciting things on the plate here. We’ll continue to invest in the IO model. You heard Chris talk about it, you’ll hear Andy. If you haven’t yet invested in Core IO, APO, or BPIO in terms of a way to bring your solutions in a consistent and predictable way to customers, and give your customers a roadmap from where they are today to where they want to be, then that’s the way for you to directly impact your profitability over the next year. I’m pleased to introduce today that Microsoft Financing is moving out to 15 countries worldwide, and they will provide financing for software plus services, plus hardware for all deals and all partners over US$3,000. We’ll continue to invest in the Microsoft Customer Satisfaction Programs, so that you can track the satisfaction of your customers with your service and Microsoft, as at the end of the day it’s the voice of the customer that matters.

Finally, after launching Demo Showcase last year at WPC, we’ve had incredible response. We’re on the third release of the Showcase, with all the full new platform enabled, and we have 22 scenarios that attach to all of the customer campaigns by role for you to use. We also took your feedback, and in addition to the full rich demos, we now have Expression-enabled demos for all of our scenarios. So that gives you a sense of how we’re helping grow and build your business and close more sales.

Now, at the end of that, I have to remind you that not until like Pike’s Peak Gold Rush of 1858, we’re all racing to capitalize on the mountain of innovation that is out there. And I thought I would ensure that I take the fastest way up to the top of the mountain of innovation, as I’m sure you would, so I think I’m going to get strapped in for a ride here.

(Video segment.)

My team helped me do this, but I’m going to take off on the mountain, come and join with me. Let’s go.